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Pavel Kubina Traded to Atlanta; Toronto Signs Mike Komisarek

Jul 1, 2009 – 6:30 PM
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Adam Gretz

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Late last week, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke made it clear that his team would not be pushed around this upcoming season. Based on his first moves this offseason, he wasn't kidding. After signing tough-guy Colton Orr to a four-year, $4 million deal earlier on Wednesday, the Leafs sent defenseman Pavel Kubina, and the rights to Tim Stapleton, to the Atlanta Thrashers for Garnet Exelby and Colin Stuart.

On the surface, it's a woefully lopsided trade in favor of Atlanta, and nothing more than a salary dump for Toronto.

The plus side? Just moments after the deal was made, word surfaced that defenseman Mike Komisarek had signed with the Maple Leafs.

Komisarek's contract is reportedly a five-year, $22.5 million pact, which is a great deal for the Leafs, and enough to likely infuriate the good folks in Montreal. Perhaps the best "stay-at-home" defenseman on the market, Komisarek brings toughness and size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) to the Toronto blue line.

So, to recap for the Leafs:

In: Komisarek, Exelby, Orr, Stuart

Out: Kubina, Stapleton

As for the Kubina-to-Atlanta aspect: It's not everyday that we get to say this, but it's a hell of a trade by Don Waddell and the Atlanta Thrashers. To land a legitimate, proven top-four NHL defenseman, while only giving up, essentially, a couple of spare parts/fourth-liners is nothing short of a steal.

The Thrashers' top-four on defense now contains Kubina, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey and 2008 first-round pick Zach Bogosian. All four players bring plenty of offensive ability to the attack, while it's a considerable improvement from where the team was a year ago at this time.
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